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How Small Thank Yous Can Have a Big Impact on Your Business

Expressing gratitude is good for workplace culture — and when it's done right, it's a positive boost to both the giver and the receiver. Here are three ways to pack more power into your thank yous

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There’s a lot I’m thankful for in my life, including the many incredible people I get to work with every day. I haven’t always been consistent in expressing my gratitude toward them, but recently I’ve made a habit of intentionally thanking our team when I see them doing good work, not to mention the colleagues and peers who have inspired me along the way.

Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. For instance, I may send a thank-you email or a handwritten card. But, more often than not, it’s a quick WhatsApp, Teams or text message. I’ve even started incorporating heart emojis during Teams calls, which is something I never would have done a few years ago.

These may seem like small acts, but there is significant data to support the idea that gratitude is a great way to reinforce a strong workplace culture, as well as being beneficial at an individual level. Studies have shown that care and appreciation not only strengthen personal relationships but also work to boost morale, productivity and satisfaction at work.

One survey by the American Psychological Association asked employees whether they felt valued at work. Of the 1,714 adults surveyed, 93% of respondents who reported feeling valued said it motivates them to do their best work, whereas only 33% of those who didn’t feel valued felt that same motivation. That’s a significant difference — and it’s a consistent finding from study to study.

Since I’ve made expressing gratitude a regular part of my leadership practice, I’ve discovered that showing appreciation for the contributions of others can literally transform an organization. But how you say thank you matters and can make the difference between a simple gesture and one that generates a positive business impact. Here’s how.

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